Wooly Willey

Using a wand with a small magnetic tip at the end, a user could move the magnetite whisker material around Wooly Willy, giving him anything from bangs to beards to bowties.

Wooly Willy is a toy in which metal filings are moved about with a magnetic wand to add features to a cartoon face. In Smethport, Pennsylvania, in McKean County, near the New York border, there is a small auto parts store, tucked away on Fulton Street one-half block off Main. This used to be a toy factory, and it was the birthplace of Smethport’s most beloved citizen—an international icon whose fiftieth birthday Smethport celebrated in 2005: Wooly Willy.

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Careful on the playground

A child is said to “catch” cooties through close contact with an “infected” person or from an opposite-sex child of a similar age. Of all the germs kids are exposed to on the playground, there’s one they freak out about more than any other: cooties.

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